Sunday, February 9, 2014
Wandering Mystic Meditation From Brighton Beach
Going to the beach, driving upstate to see the Fall foliage and pick apples every Sept/Oct, camping every summer. These are our family activities because we can’t afford expensive vacations. It might seem like a compromise, but those low budget adventures yield memories we keep for years to come. My older brother and sister also grow up loving the outdoors, and we look back on those early years often. My parents always wanted to give us the best, but felt they couldn’t. Well, maybe they did after all.
In the summers, even before we have a car, we take the F train to Brighton Beach, only a few stops away. About 5 or 6 years old, I help to schlep beach chairs and bags loaded with towels up the stairs to the platform. In my youth, I don’t recognize any of it as hard. I’m anxious to get to the sand, the Sabrett hot dog man at Bay 8 by the handball courts, and the ocean, the infinite ocean. Standing at the edge of my universe facing the water, I feel small. The rest of the world seems incredibly far away. The strange part, though, is also feeling somehow connected in that spot. Feet in breaking waves at the shoreline put me at the closest point to the next shoreline. This is humbling and invigorating at the same time.
What never leaves me is the sense of wondering about people in far away lands standing on their coastlines, wondering about me. I know early that I will stand on as many other coastlines as possible, so I can think about young children digging back on Brighton Beach, and send my heart home to them.
Getting past childhood and into the teen years is never easy for anyone. I’m not special because I feel lost and alone; I’m a statistic. Like every young girl, I wonder if anyone will ever love me, what he’ll be like, what I’ll be like, and what kind of life we’ll live. So many unknowns are unsettling for a controlling person, to say the least. One thing I do know is even though I want a family and a love of all loves in my future, I need a life of my own, adventures of my own, accomplishments for myself. I don’t just dream of being a wife and mom, I dream of being a jet setter. I continue to read voraciously, which sometimes cools the burning desire to go, do, and see. Sometimes it only adds fuel to the fire.
Beth Kallman Werner is the author of the book Travels of an Independent Woman, from which this story was taken. She educates, encourages, and empowers writers with her company Author Connections that provides marketing and editing services. She lives with her chocolate lab and husband of unspecified color in the woods of Pennsylvania, where she pursues travel, photography, cooking, and gardening.